Tuesday, November 22, 2005

GUI checkers 1.05

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's GUI checkers running at an amazing 4.5 million nodes per second on my Athlon 64 3000+! I managed to coax Jon Kreuzer from his checkers retirement by requiring a tiny change in the way engines interact with CheckerBoard, and instead of just implementing this change, he went on to improve GUI further. It is now searching about 3 times as fast as Cake Manchester. You can download GUI on Jon's checkers page.
Jon also wrote a nice tutorial on bitboards in checkers programs, which gives you an idea on how to program a blazingly fast checkers program.

PS: of course, speed is not everything. There are reasons why Cake is so much slower than GUI, and it's not only that Jon is a more accomplished programmer. Cake has larger endgame databases which take time to probe, and it also has a more complex evaluation function. As you know from our human checkers experience, it is not necessary to examine millions of positions to find a good move - it is more important to examine the right positions, and to evaluate them correctly. Cake Manchester is better than GUI checkers despite searching less positions per second.

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